The deep dark waters of the western Atlantic Ocean are full of surprises. Who knew Blainvile's Beaked Whales, a type of small toothed whale, swam so close to New York Harbor!
Rare whale washes up dead along N.J. coastBy MaryAnn Spoto |
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 04, 2017 at 4:36 PM, updated January 04, 2017 at 6:45 PM
A rare whale washed up dead along a section of the northern Ocean County barrier island, marine mammal rescue officials said Wednesday.
Staff from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine were called out last week to retrieve the Blainville's beaked whale that washed up on Island Beach State Park, said Bob Schoelkopf, the center's executive director.
Calling it a "rare and unique" whale, Schoelkopf said this incident marks only the second time in more than 40 years that center staff had come in contact with this type of mammal.
He said the whale, a male, weighs nearly 800 pounds and is 15 feet long. Because it was already decomposing when staff found it, there was no immediate obvious cause of death, he said.
Blainville's beaked whales - named for their dolphin-like beaks - descend to great depths for food, usually squid, Schoelkopf said. Because they spend so much of their lives deep in the ocean, they are rarely spotted and hard to observe, he said.
The last time the center responded to a dead Blainville's beaked whale was in 1989 when it had worked its way up a creek in the Morganville section of Marlboro, he said. Because of the rarity of that type of mammal, the skull from that whale is in the center's museum, he said.
On Friday, a bottlenose dolphin washed up dead along Sandy Hook. Center officials believe it was a dolphin stranded in the Shrewsbury River since the summer. Schoelkopf said staff initially believed the dead dolphin was pregnant but have since determined it was not. The cause of death was not evident and has yet to be determined by a necropsy, he said.
MaryAnn Spoto may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MaryAnnSpoto. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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